LAMPASAS — A petition is circulating in Lampasas County’s Precinct 4 to allow the off-premise sale of beer and wine.
Discussed at the County Commissioners Court’s Monday meeting, the petition could appear on the November ballot if its sponsors garner enough signatures by May 10.
Doug Christensen, owner of a local grocery store, started the petition in mid-March. He and Michelle Christensen own Christensen’s Grocery, which is about a mile outside of Copperas Cove’s city limits.
Stuck in a gray legal area, Christensen found his store was at a competitive disadvantage after the state’s old “dry” alcohol laws changed.
“When we bought the store in 1990, you had to drive to Killeen, Briggs or Lampasas to buy beer,” he said. “You couldn’t get any in Copperas Cove, so you’d have to drive 11 to 18 miles to buy beer.”
Now, however, his customers can purchase beer by driving up the road a couple of miles, which hurts his business.
Texas alcohol laws authorize each county precinct to determine the level of alcohol sales it will allow within its borders.
Half of Lampasas County precincts do not allow off-premise beer and wine sales, including Precincts 2 and 4, County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse said.
“Every day I have to explain to around 20 people the laws of Texas and why they can’t buy beer; it’s pretty ridiculous,” Christensen said.
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Greg Chapman said he thought changing the law would encourage more businesses to set up shop in the area.
As of Tuesday, the petition needed an additional 652 signatures from Precinct 4 residents by May 10 to be on the November ballot.
Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners appointed two new election judges to replace T.P. Wingo and Sandy Lockett, who resigned early this month.
The two new judges are Dennis Scroggins, who will serve in Lometa, and Wayne Butler, who will serve in Kempner.